Three quarters of a century have passed since the first nuclear weapon test - rather inappropriately named “Trinity” - was carried out in the New Mexican desert in the United States. Since then, more than 2,000 tests, including seven in this century, have taken place, causing environmental damage and impacting the health of people who were near the test sites or were down-wind from the radioactivity released into the atmosphere. It is to be hoped that the nuclear test which took place three years ago was the last ever to be conducted.
During his visit to Hiroshima last November, Pope Francis clearly stated that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is today, more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home. The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral”. Furthermore, the Pope has also underscored the need to “reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines … Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation.” From this point of view, it is impossible to make a moral case for continued nuclear weapon testing. There should never be another nuclear test explosion.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, signed in 1996, is a force for preventing further tests, despite the lamentable fact that it has not yet entered into force. One of the key tasks of the CTBT’s Preparatory Commission is to work with the eight states whose ratifications are required for the treaty’s entry into force.
All States have an important role to play in achieving these ratifications, while the eight must be persuaded that national and international security will only be strengthened by the CTBT’s entry into force.
The Treaty is a critically important step towards creating a world without nuclear weapons. Each of the remaining eight States should strongly back up its words in favor of peace by being the first to sign. Further nuclear testing, which would add to current nuclear weapon capabilities, can only diminish global security, and thus the peace, security and stability of all Members of this body and that of the peoples whom they represent.
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the two uses of a nuclear weapon and remember the victims, we all must recommit ourselves to the spirit with which the United Nations was founded and together achieve not merely a permanent, binding obligation never again to test nuclear weapons, but the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world: an objective made all the more urgent in the context of a global pandemic, which further highlights the incongruity of pouring valuable resources into the maintenance of weapons of destruction while so many on this planet are struggling to survive. The entry into force of the CTBT, and until then the continuation of the existing moratoria on nuclear tests, are important contributions to making that objective a reality in the shortest possible time.
The Holy See, having signed and ratified the Treaty, stands ready to support all efforts of this body to achieve its entry into force, and its vital contribution to ensuring a nuclear-weapon-free world. Otherwise “future generations may rise to condemn our failure if we speak of peace but do nothing to bring it about among the peoples of the earth.”
Thank you, Mr. President.
 Pope Francis, Meeting for Peace, Peace Memorial, Hiroshima, Japan, 24 November 2019.
 Pope Francis, Address on Nuclear Weapons, Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park Nagasaki, Japan, 24 November 2019.
 Cf. Pope Francis, Meeting for Peace, Peace Memorial, Hiroshima, Japan, 24 November 2019.